Soldier Guarding New ShoesPosted: October 27, 2013
When I was growing up, purchasing and wearing new shoes were always exciting times. Every time my parents took me to shop for some new kicks (shoes) growing up, there would always be great anticipation to put them on. I would put my old shoes aside, excitedly, while preparing to put on the new and improved. After the purchase, I couldn’t wait to put on my new shoes. Of course I couldn’t help the constant looking down at them. Whether it was wearing my new kicks around the house or going to school, fascination filled my heart! “These shoes look so slick,” I would say. Now, imagine me in school making sure there were no scuff marks as I would go to each of my classes. I could be described as a “soldier on watch patrol” when it came to my kicks…just making sure there were no skid marks! And when I found some skid marks, there would be no hesitation in wiping them off. I guess I was trying to make sure they stayed new for a long, long time.
This imagery connects with me when it comes to abiding in Christ. Just like the over-watching of my new shoes, that happens with me when observing my own spiritual fruit. I can be so overly concerned about the spiritual fruit in my life that I forget where the spiritual fruit comes from. This over concern can lead to trying to put on spiritual fruit. The reality is that healthy, God-honoring, spiritual fruit comes from an abiding relationship with Jesus. And as a result of remaining in, depending on, and asking of Him, spiritual fruit that honors God will be produced as a by-product of the relationship…not the other way around.
“Am I praying enough? Am I reading the word enough? Am I sharing the gospel with others enough? Am I discipling others enough? Am I training my children well? Am I loving my wife, Antoinette, well? Am I serving God’s church at Strong Tower well? Am I loving the poor enough?” All of these questions are examples of the “soldier on watch” making sure the fruit is there. This posture is an overemphasis of Scripture when it says “to be careful to watch my life and what I teach closely to make sure they match”. James 3:2
But there is another way!
Jesus says, “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me”. John 15:4
From this verse and the surrounding verses, Jesus is saying in a nutshell, “Spiritual fruit will come as a result of an abiding relationship in Jesus Christ”. This eternal truth and promise helps me to remember to embrace the person of Jesus for the sake of embracing Him and what He has done for me. Looking to see if there are spiritual fruit shouldn’t be my primary focus.
Jesus creates spiritual fruit in and through us…so I will stop trying…but continue abiding!
It’s time to bear fruit by continuously remaining in Jesus…moment by moment.
Join me in relinquishing my “watch post duties”!